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Magazine sells couple on Manteca
Manteca Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive officer Debby Moorhead, center, shares copies of the new Manteca Chamber Magazine with Jane and Marty South. - photo by DENNIS WYATT


The 2010 edition of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce Magazine & Business Directory is now available at the chamber office at 821 W. Yosemite Ave. or call 823-6121 for more information.

A deep faith in God, family, and the Manteca Chamber of Commerce magazine combined forces to help bring Marty and Jane South to Manteca from Wisconsin.

The couple’s three children had fallen in love with California and basically said they had no intention of moving back to the Midwest. That prompted the Souths to make a big 2,000-mile move. But the question was to where?

They credit the 2009 Manteca Chamber of Commerce Magazine and Business Directory provided to them by the management of North Union Apartments with helping to make up their mind.

“We opened the magazine to the centerfold and there was this gentleman (George Perry) who had a letter thanking God three times for his success,” Jane said.

They then flipped through the stories on the community and its amenities before coming across the page discussing the chamber’s Flags over Manteca project.

“We read where the community wanted to become known as the most patriotic city in America,” she continued. “We thought there was a community like that in California of all places. We knew between that and (the open expression of faith in God) that this was the place for us.”

It also helped that their daughter Mary Jude Croasre in Menlo Park pointed out that Manteca means “lard” in Spanish. Jane considered that a sign since her father raised hogs.

The couple, who arrived in Manteca in late May, said they’d be honored if they could eventually meet George Perry and his family as well as John Perez and his son John.

In becoming acquainted with Manteca they noticed the Perez & Son cabinet shop on South Main Street and marveled that a father and son would still labor together in this day and age.

“I’d love to see their work,” she said.

People would also be honored to meet the couple.

Retired Marine with service in Vietnam
Marty is a retired Marine who served in Vietnam. As a helicopter pilot he flew 420 missions earning 21 air medals in the process. Their sons - without prodding - also opted to join the military. Son John is a Marine major who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now back in Afghanistan again serving America.

Son Joe is now a captain in the Marines after getting his commission out of the Naval Academy. He also has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marty said he is honored when he wears his baseball-style cap that delineates his Marine service in Manteca as people will come up to him and thank him for his service. He tends not to wear the baseball cap when in the Bay Area where the reaction is entirely different.

It may also have something to do with the way he was greeted after returning home from risking his life in Vietnam. He recalled how flights were scheduled to arrive at San Francisco International by 3:30 a.m. so they could clear the airport by 5 a.m. before anti-war protestors showed up who typically yelled at returning soldiers calling them “baby killers” and even spitting at them.

“He never wanted to talk about his experiences there or share it with anyone because of that,” said his wife.

However, how his oldest son was treated after returning to the states after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan more than made up for his treatment, Marty said.

Pat Riley was coaching the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs and made arrangements for four tickets to go to soldiers at a nearby military command who had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. At first John insisted a young solider go but he was told he was the only one who had served in both wars at the command. So he attended with three other soldiers and was seated several rows behind the Heat. Before the game started the lights went down and spotlights went on the four soldiers who were introduced to a standing ovation as the Star Spangled Banner played. At halftime they were ushered into a VIP room where Marty said his son was repeatedly thanked by strangers for his service and even asked a number of times for his autograph in a room full of celebrities.

Daughter first scouted Manteca
Daughter Mary Jude was the first to direct her parents in the general direction of Manteca and other nearby communities such as Tracy. She and her family had scouted several communities in the valley on their way back from Yosemite figuring her parents would like it due to the strong presence of agriculture.

Marty farmed in the summers. He was an engineer by trade and worked a number of years for International Harvester.

They said they are impressed with everything previous and current councils have had the “forward thinking” to secure things such as a water supply and wastewater capacity as well as other infrastructure and amenities. But just as important to both is the friendliness of the people they encounter.

Typical of the people they have met is a server at Eddie’s Pizza named Jennifer. They said Jennifer not only made their dining experience extremely pleasant beyond what one would expect for essentially fast food but also was extremely helpful when they asked for hints about shopping for groceries.

“We said we were new in town from Wisconsin and asked if she knew of a place we could get inexpensive groceries and she told us about the farmers market, the produce stands (on East Highway 120), the Grocery Outlet, and Food 4 Less,” Jane said.

The next time they went in Jennifer made them feel right at home noting that they were the couple from Wisconsin.

The Souths moved to Manteca from the Milwaukee area. Both like downtown Manteca saying the feel is of a much smaller town as it doesn’t have four and six lanes roads that make older downtowns impersonal.

Jane, who taught for a number of years, noted her daughter researched Manteca thoroughly and was surprised to find test scores virtually on par with the wealthier Menlo Park schools.

It is something that Jane believes could be credited to the free community-based Give Every Child a Chance tutoring program that helps more than 2,400 struggling students each year improve grade level performance. It is just one of the many volunteer organizations in Manteca the couple is impressed with.

In the end, they believe it is God that brought them to Manteca.

“If you truly believe in God you are going to have blessings in your life,” Jane said.

And as far as the Souths are concerned, one of those blessings is Manteca.